Jump to main page content
Purdue signature

Helpful Tips for Conducting a Survey at Purdue

Before you begin, have you considered?

1.  Have you checked to see if your question has already been asked?  Check the list of surveys to see what previous survey results are available.

2.  Have you considered when to survey?  Will other surveys be administered during this time -- leading to poor response rates?  See the calendar of when other large surveys are being planned.

3.  Have you considered a random sample of the population rather than a census (whole population)?  Here's some information on sampling techniques.

4.  How will you use the results?  Will they be shared or published?  Then you will need IRB approval (see appropriate approvals below).

5.  Are you going to offer an incentive to survey participants?  See the guidelines below.

6.  Did you know that there is a web-based survey software available to all Purdue faculty, staff, and students to use?  See Purdue's Qualtrics website.

Have you received the appropriate approvals?

1.  If you are a student, contact the Office of the Dean of Students.

2.  If you are a faculty or staff member and you want email addresses for your survey, you must first get permission from the following offices:

  • The Registrar for student email addresses
  • The Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs for faculty email addresses
  • The Vice President for Human Resources for staff email addresses
3.  To obtain the list of email addresses of faculty, staff, or students, contact:


4.  If you answer yes to either of the following questions, your survey should be reviewed as Human Subjects Research by the IRB:

  • Will the activity and/or results be disseminated via an internet posting, conference or meeting, submission to or publication in a journal, or thesis/dissertation?
  • Will the activity be listed as a scholarly or scientific activity on your vita?

If you answer no to both questions, your study may be exempt, but you will still need to fill out a form with the IRB.  The institution makes the determination that the research/study is exempt, not the investigator/researcher.  Typically, the following types of studies/research are considered exempt:

  • Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings, involving normal educational practices
  • Research involving survey procedures, interview procedures, or observation of public behavior providing that any disclosure of identifiable information outside the research setting would not place the subjects at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the subject's financial standing, employability, or reputation.  NOTE:  Interviews with children and participant observation of children by investigators cannot be exempt
  • Research involving the collection or study of existing data (collected prior to the research for purposes other than the research) if the data is publicly available or recorded by the investigator in such a manner that the subjects cannot be identified

Any survey that goes through IRB must have a certified PI associated with it.


Are you offering compensation or incentives?

If you are offering compensation or incentives, you must comply with Purdue University Business Services procedures as well as the IRB.